Cockroaches get their name from the Spanish word for cockroach, cucaracha, and over time became the word we are familiar with today. The Latin term for "an insect that shuns the light" is Blatta, which lends itself to the scientific term for this order of insects, Blattodea, which also includes Termites.
What is a Cockroach?
Also called just Roaches, these are some of the most primitive insects in the world, appearing similarly to how they look in fossils, dating back at least 320 million years.
These beetle-like insects typically have long antennae and legs and feed by scavenging.
Although there are approximately 4,600 species of Cockroach, only about 30 are associated with human habitats and 4 of them are well-known as pests.
They can get up to 2 inches in length, with tropical species being those of the larger variety. Cockroaches typically have six long, spiny legs that enable them to run quickly across almost any surface.
Why you want Roaches gone from your home
Although quite a common pest problem, cockroaches are also one of the most stubborn.
Infestations can be quite difficult to get rid of due to the fact that they hide in a variety of areas, they breed quickly and can develop resistance to pesticides.
Aside from just be nasty little buggers, cockroaches can taint food with E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.
Another health concern is that exposure to cockroach feces can, over time, trigger allergies or asthma.
Top 5 Common types of Cockroaches
Found in North Carolina
Here in North Carolina, the five most common Cockroaches that people come into conflict with are:
The Periplaneta americana is known by several names, with one of the popular ones being the "American Cockroach." Others include the waterbug (but not a true waterbug since it is not aquatic), or misidentified as the palmetto bug (as they tend to live on trees outside). Other names it has acquired are the ship cockroach, kakerlac, and Bombay canary.
It's been said that these critters were introduced to the United States as early as 1625, from Africa.
The adult American cockroach can grow up to 3 inches long and can develop from egg to adult in as little as 5 ½ months! In appearence, they are brown / reddish-brown or mahogany in color and typically have a yellow band in the area behind their head.
These versatile creatures eat leaves, tiny wood particles, fungi, algae and even some small insects when outdoors. Indoors, they tend to forage under appliances, in drains, in kitchen cabinets and on the floor. They eat crumbs, scraps of food and spilled food that they find, including pet food left out overnight.
Although both male and female cockroach of this type have wings, only the males are capable of flight, but both male & female tend to jump when disturbed.
Their "banded" name is due to the fact that both males and females have two light yellow bands across their reddish-brown bodies.
These nasty little creatures will eat just about anything, like trash, pantry goods, nylon stockings, drapes, and wallpaper.
They enter our homes in search of warmth and shelter, as these cockroaches need warm temperatures to survive.
The Blattella germanica or the German Cockroach, is one of the most common species of roach, notorious for being household pests.
They can grow up to 13 - 16 milimeters in legnth, tend to be pale brown in color (but some will vary in color, being almost black), with two dark-brown stripes behind the head and live up to 12 months.
Their geographical origin seems to be up for debate, as it was originally believed that they came from Europe. And then it was Ethiopia. And recently some say even Southeast Asia.
Oddly enough, while in English-speaking countries, it is known as the German Cockroach, in Germany, these critters are called the Russian roach.
German cockroaches are omnivores, being attracted to meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods. Where a shortage exists, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. And in famine conditions, they turn cannibalistic, chewing at each other's wings and legs.
Although smaller than their cousin, the American Cockroach, they tend to hide in similar areas, favoring locations behind stoves and refrigerators.
Sightings are most frequent in the evenings, when a light suddenly turns on in a room deserted after dark, such as a kitchen, where they have been scavenging.
The Blatta orientalis or Oriental Cockroach, also known as the waterbug or black beetle, due to its large size and glossy brown to black body.
Atlhough this roach originally hails from the region around the Black Sea & Caspian Sea, however is now found fairly globally.
Neither male nor female of this species are capable of flight, which should be a relief, and they typically live up to six months.
Preferring dark, moist places, The Oriental cockroach can often be found around decaying organic matter, and in sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, and other damp locations. Outside, you may find them in bushes, under leaf groundcover, under mulch, and around other damp places outdoors.
Their attraction to damp & dark areas makes it no wonder that they will often enter a home via sewer to pipes and drains.
Tips to prevent Cockroaches from invading your home
Roach prevention methods need to be implemented early in order to maintain a roach-free home. They reproduce quite rapidly, and small populations turn into infestations very fast.
Keep garbage sealed properly.
Ensure kitchen sinks and counters are never left dirty for long.
If possible, put away pet food when not in use.
Fix leaky pipes, drains, sinks, etc. as soon as possible.